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  • Elianni Gaio

Magnesium Basics - Everything Important you Need to Know About this Essential Mineral

Are you supplementing with Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays important roles in the human body influencing its ability to function. It is required as a cofactor for over 300 enzymatic reactions, and also needed for the functioning of numerous metabolic processes.

Magnesium is involved in many physiologic pathways that include:

. nerve function

. muscle contraction

. blood glucose control

. energy production

. hormone receptors binding

. blood pressure regulation

. cardiac excitability

. dna and rna production

. electrolyte homeostasis

. protein synthesis

. and much more

However, magnesium deficiency is very common in the industrialized world due to:

. diet that incude refined and processed foods that are depleted of magnesium content

. unproperly prepared grains and seeds that need traditional preparation to break down phytates and help nutrient absorption

. soil depletion and erosion due to excessive farming

. consume of nonorganic foods (loaded with toxics and chemicals)

. reduced gastrointestinal absorption

. use of medications and antacids

. renal disorders

. decreased intake

. alcoholism

. smoking habits

. aging

Magnesium deficiency may impair biological processes provoking signs and symptoms such as:

. muscle cramps

. anxiety and irritability

. sleep disorders

. weakness and fatigue

. nausea and vomiting

. abnormal heart rhythms

. seizures

. psychosis

. headaches (migraines)

. loss of appetite

. acid reflux

. headaches

. infertility

. diabetes

. osteoporosis

Also, some conditions may increase the risk of magnesium deficiency:

. people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders

. kidney problems

. chronic alcoholism

. high fiber intake

. low protein diets

. high calcium intake

. high dose zinc

. some medication such use of diuretic drugs or, PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors), antacids, etc

. excessive sweat

. stress

. drinking coffee, teas and sodas

Then, the Deficiency of magnesium has been associated with increased risk of:

. restless leg syndrome (RSL)

. cardiovascular disease such as hyoertension - high blood pressure, myocardial infarction (heart attack), endothelial dysfunction

. osteoporosis

. stress and anxiety

. fatigue

. cancer

. metabolic disorders

. diabetes mellitus

. hormone imbalances

. fibromyalgia

. pregnancy complications (preeclampsia and eclampsia)

. migraine headaches

. asthma

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Magnesium depend on our age and life stage as bellow:


The highest food sources of magnesium are:

. pumpkin seeds

. cultured yogurt (if tolerated)

. milk (if tolerated)

. canned clams

. fish, mackerel, cooked

. roasted chicken

. cooked beef

. dark chocolate

. almonds

. hazelnuts

. Brazil nuts

. Swiss chard (cooked)

. spinach, frozen, chopped cooked

. banana and plantains (green ones are loaded with nutrients)

. kelp

. basil

. avocados

. kale

. arugula

. broccoli, cooked

. okra, frozen, cooked

. chives

. coconut water

. baked potatoes

. apples

Also, magnesium can interfere with the absorption:of some drugs. So, talk to your doctor before you start magensium supplements if you are taking the drugs listed below:

. digoxin (heart medication)

. nitrofurantoin (an antibiotic)

. certain malarial drugs (may reduce drug efficacy)

. Bisphosphonates (drug to treat osteoporosis) – magnesium should be taken 2 hours apart to not inhibit the drug absorption

. Chlorpromazine (tranquilizer)

. penicillamine

. oral anticoagulants

. quinolone and tetracycline (antibiotics)

These are the magnesium forms available and their better indications:

. sulfate – is used in obstetric care for the prevention of seizures in pregnant women with preeclampsia or eclampsia - not generally used un oral supplements, little evidence on topical absorption

. orotate – cardiovascular, may be useful in heart failure

. glycinate – sleep and constipation

. malate – energy and pain relief

. taurate – blood sugar imbalances and anxiety

. citrate – sleep and hard stools

. oxide – poor bioavailability, causes loose stool

. hydroxide – poorly absorbed, used as an antacid

. chloride - good absorption

. mandelate – used as urinary antiseptic

. magnesium from magnesium-rich magnesium water – absorbs 59 percent

. magnesium as a salicylate – user in rheumatoid arthritis

So, as we could see magnesium deficiencies are bad to our overall health but, on the other hand, the side effect of having too much magnesium also can produce symptoms and health consequences.

Then, the Institute of Medicine has set the upper tolerable limit of magnesium supplements where there is no risk of gastrointestinal side effects in almost all individuals in 350 mg/day.

Also, be aware that renal impairment individuals have a higher risk of magnesium adverse effects.

Another important fact to be aware of is about magnesium toxicity. Basically, the signs and symptoms of hypermagnesemia are:

. laxative effect, consequently diarrhea

. fall in blood pressure with dizziness to severe hypotension

. muscle weakness

. severe back and pelvic pain

. confusion and loss of consciousness

. difficulty breathing to respiratory arrest

. cardiac arrhythmias to cardiac arrest

. lethargy

. confusion

. deterioration of kidney function

. facial flushing

. nausea and vomiting

* Reducing the dose will immediately improve symptoms.

Treatments for mild magnesium overdose:

. discontinue supplementing and rule out renal impairment.

Concluding, the best way to supplement our micronutrients is through a nutrient-dense diet. And either micronutrient deficiency or excess are not good for us and may have implications on our delicate metabolism.

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